Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Canadian Opera Challenge Winner Announced



CBC Radio 2's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera ran a contest last month asking "Which Canadian figure, famous or obscure, would you like to see be immortalized in an Opera?"

The responses to the Canadian Opera Challenge came flooding in. Some great suggestions included Terry Fox, Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chr├ętien/Paul Martin, Brian Mulroney, Adrienne Clarkson, John MacDonald, Farley Mowat and David Suzuki.

The prize up for grabs was a trip for two to Vancouver for the opening night performance of Lillian Alling on October 16, an invitation to the backstage party, 2 night accommodations at The Four Seasons Hotel and dinner at Yew Restaurant.

So who was the Canadian hero or heroine with a life that called out for a full operatic treatment?

Doug Tuck, VO's Director of Marketing and Community Programs, read the winning entry on-air this past weekend on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. The winner was Catherine Mori, a Latin teacher from Richmond, BC.

Here's her winning entry:

Eleanor is a 50-yr-old Winnipeg woman, watching TV one night, in 1979. She sits in distress as CBC news shows pictures of boatpeople fleeing their Vietnamese homeland (illegally). The PM of the day, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, sends out the call (aria?) to all Canadians: will you sponsor these people? Eleanor rises up (aria) from her comfortable sitting room and declares her intent to help. She will muster her Catholic coparishioners to sponsor 3 families. Cut to the favourite of the 3 families she will welcome. They are at sea and have run out of water. A chorus of mothers sings their despair. Anything for sweet water! But their prayers bring the Thai pirates. Two little girls and their Mum and Dad...will they survive? Will the elder one make it to Canada and meet my son and produce my grand-daughter? There is more! But not enough space. The true Canadian heroine, unsung in any opera yet, is "Nana", the woman who saved my grand-daughter's other grandparents! She is now elderly, revered and living in Victoria. I could sketch the outline of the plot but couldn't write the libretto or the music. Che peccato!

Catherine will be attending Lillian Alling with her friend from Anchorage, Alaska.

Congratulations Catherine! See you at the opera!

~ Ling Chan

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